I’m a firm believer that there are only three categories of salespeople—bottom performers, middle or average performers, and top performers.
If you’re selling today, then you fit into one of these categories, whether you realize it yet or not.
Bottom performers should seek a different career because they’re just not going to make it in sales long-term.
On the other hand, middle or average performers make up the majority of people in sales. They make a living and get by, but they’re not wealthy and they probably don’t love what they do.
But the third and final category—top performers—are the absolute best salespeople. These are the top 5% of salespeople who crush their sales numbers day after day, quarter after quarter, year after year.
The best salespeople have a certain set of qualities that allow them to consistently outperform everyone else many times over.
And no, these are NOT qualities you have to be born with. These are qualities you can learn, practice, and grow.
So, what are they?
In this video, I’m going to show you the nine qualities that the best salespeople possess. Check it out:
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #1: They’re learners.
Being a learner is so key to success in sales. My father used to always tell me, “Marc, when you graduate from school, never stop learning. Make sure that you are constantly learning.” That mindset has always stuck with me.
When it comes to the best salespeople, learning is always front and center in their lives and careers. I meet with hundreds of top-performing salespeople every year, and these folks are always learning in a consistent way. They seek out new ideas constantly. They love to learn.
Still, when organizations bring me in to help their sales growth, the sales managers are often worried that their top salespeople will push back on the training. In all my years of work, I’ve never had that happen, and I tell them so. The best salespeople are the best learners, and as a result, they eat up the training every single time. They love it because they love learning new ideas.
Become a learner. Even if you wouldn’t describe yourself as a learner right now, start to consistently learn just a few new things every month about selling. Nurture a love of learning in yourself and you’ll be on your way to joining the ranks of the best salespeople in your field.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #2: They’re implementers.
Implementation is everything in sales. Learning is a critical piece, yes—but then we have to actually implement what we learned, right?
It’s absolutely crucial that we don’t just learn and then forget to implement. I think about this all the time. For example, many people watch my videos on sales every week. We put out new weekly sales training videos, and tons of people view them. But for the most part, viewers will just stay behind their computers—we consider them keyboard jockeys. They never actually implement the ideas they learn in the videos. They’re learning, but not implementing.
The best salespeople watch our videos and then go out and implement the ideas they learn. They’re using a couple of new ideas in every single sales call they go on each week. They not only learn the ideas but they also implement them—and because of that, they’re consistently building and growing their sales approach. That’s exactly what you want to do.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #3: They have perspective.
Sales is not war. It’s not dangerous. There’s no risk to your life. There’s not even any risk to your self-esteem if you don’t allow it. We need to have perspective, and the best salespeople have great perspective.
While the best salespeople tend to be highly competitive, when they lose an opportunity, they don’t go home and pout and beat themselves up. Instead, they keep it in perspective and recognize that Some Will, Some Won’t, So What? Next.
They take what they learn from every mistake and every missed opportunity and they bring it into the next conversation. They’re never bummed out for a long time when a sale doesn’t go well. They get disappointed, of course, but they ruminate over it for days or think to themselves, “I’m such a loser because I didn’t close that deal.” They just learn from it and then they move on. They have perspective.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #4: They have self-worth.
This is a tough one because it’s so intangible, but self-worth is integral to success in sales. The best salespeople don’t look for their selling careers to give them their self-worth. Instead, they get their self-worth from simply living their lives with confidence.
I can’t stress enough how important it is not to tie up your career in sales with your own self-worth. Nothing good will come of it—and that goes for any career or profession, while we’re at it.
If you have self-worth, then you can sit across from any prospect with confidence and self-possession. If that prospect tells you to go screw off, you won’t suddenly fall into a funk and think to yourself, “I’m worthless.” Instead, you’ll simply say, “You know what? I can see what I might have done wrong there, and now I’m going to take that learning into the next conversation.”
The best salespeople are constantly thinking of sales as a game (more on that later) as opposed to something that influences their self-esteem or self-confidence. You need to have self-worth to start—and then let that self-worth come through and help you when you’re selling.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #5: They’re risk takers.
The best salespeople are like entrepreneurs. They’re willing to take risks. They’re willing to try new things. I see this over and over again in my work, where I’ll be dealing with top-performing salespeople and I’ll share some kind of sales strategy and they’ll say, “Oh, I’m going to use that.” Then they literally go into the room next door and they use that strategy on the phone.
Top salespeople are willing to do things that might not work. But at the end of the day, they understand they’ll never know until they push the envelope. So be willing to take risks. Try things. Call the CEO of a company. Do things that make you uncomfortable—because that’s ultimately going to expand your comfort zone and make you so much more effective in sales.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #6: They love the game.
The best salespeople love the game. I’ve already talked about this a little bit, but it bears repeating. We need to think of selling as a game. The best salespeople simply see sales as a game, and they love that game.
Quite frankly, once you see sales as a game, it’s really fun. When I go into a sales meeting, I’m psyched up. I enjoy sales meetings. I enjoy being on the phone with prospects. I enjoy that game where they’re testing me, I’m testing them, I’m asking them questions, I’m willing to answer questions, I’m not fearful. As a result, you become so much more effective in sales.
The best salespeople all love the game. They’re competitors. They’re not the kind of competitor that throws their tennis racket when they lose. Instead, they’re the kind of competitor who says, “Oh, man, I lost that sale…what can I do better next time?” They go out and implement it, and they get right back at it.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #7: They don’t need friends.
Let me clarify. I’m not saying that top salespeople are weird and don’t have friends at all. Of course, the best salespeople have great relationships outside of sales—but they don’t need to find a friend in every single prospect.
There is a pervasive myth that relationship builders are the best salespeople, and that could not be further from the truth. The best salespeople don’t need to make a friend every time they talk to a prospect. They’re willing to lose that relationship in order to gain a sale. They’re willing to risk that relationship in order to try to ultimately close the business.
When we don’t need that relationship and we don’t need a prospect’s approval, we’re so much stronger. And by the way, if it’s not a fit, we move on and we never think about it again. We don’t beat ourselves up. The best salespeople are consistently willing to walk away from any relationship if it’s not ultimately beneficial both ways.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #8: They’re executors.
The best salespeople are executors. This is so key to understand. They not only implement what they learn, but they also execute consistent sales activities every single day. They are so consistent. They’re disciplined day after day. They might be creative types and they may be a little bit sporadic here and there, but ultimately, when it comes to the real blocking and tackling of selling, they are executing every single day.
The best salespeople don’t show up at the office and say, “Oh God, I don’t want to make a call today and so I’m not going to pick up the phone at all. I’m just going to do operations.” They don’t procrastinate putting together a proposal because they’re not in the mood to do it. They just do it.
Remember, sales doesn’t always have to be a labor of love. We’re not making music here. It’s not always got to be the ultimate passion, but we still need to execute.
What’s amazing is that great executors in sales really love their careers. We see this with our internal data, which shows that top performers have a much higher job satisfaction rate than average and bottom performers. This logically makes sense, because they’re more successful. But they’re getting that passion and enjoyment from their career because they’re willing to just do the required blocking and tackling. They’re executing every single day.
Qualities of the Best Salespeople #9: They’re executors (again).
Yes, I’m repeating this because it’s so important. It is the number one distinction between top performers and everyone else. The best salespeople execute in every single way. They learn a new idea. They execute on it. They need to do something. They execute it. They need to make that call. They pick up the phone right then and there. They need to make that proposal. They don’t put it off for a week. They get it done and they get it right over to the prospect. The best salespeople are executing, so be sure that you are executing every single day.
So there you have it. Now you know the nine qualities that best salespeople possess. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Please be sure to share below in the comments to join the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.